Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Training Outside the Box

It’s been about 9 days since I last blogged about expanding my game into “the land of Darce chokes”. Unfortunately, I haven’t done much Darcing since that time, but what that class illustrated to me is that I need to start focusing on a number of weaknesses in my Jiu Jitsu game rather than constantly gravitating toward what comes easy for me. Probably the most glaring of these weaknesses is my ability to “finish” with chokes, especially with the Gi—I seem to sink in chokes much easier when the Gi material isn’t present, for oftentimes, (as a result of poor technique, I’m sure) the Gi material gets in my way.

So, I’ve been focusing pretty hard on working chokes from a variety of positions—from drilling to live rolling. While the progress isn’t fast enough, I am noting definite progress.

To make myself focus on my goal of expanding my submission game, (with the exception of competitions), I’m taking arm-bar finishes out of my arsenal for a while unless someone just leaves their arm out there, or something.

This has been very hard for me—using the arm-bar positions to set up chokes, but I’m learning how not to take a quick submission and focusing on these other areas that need improving. It’s almost like training without one of one’s senses, as I’ve discussed in prior posts. For in order to properly train this way, one has to accept that he may in fact lose a desired position on top or on bottom when relying on areas of weakness when rolling with team-mates. Last night, I got my guard passed by two white belts who have never passed my guard before, and it’s because I’m trying to open up and get my body used to moving in some ways that require lots more repetition for me. This is a good “ego checker” for me, for I do hate to give up positions—it’s totally stupid for me to feel this way, and has been a hindrance to my Jiu Jitsu game at times. I recognize this and am working on it.

As for how the chokes are coming: some of our more advanced blue belts are still difficult for me to “tap” with these chokes, but I’m actually beginning to tap the white belts and a couple of newer blue belts with submissions that I’ve never used before. I’m beginning to like taking a “triangle choke” from side control and am experiencing moderate success with it. “baseball bat” and “breadcutter” chokes are also beginning to play into my side-mount position. And, last week, I learned and actually used a choke that Darren calls the “Rambo choke” from the North-South position. I guess he calls it the “Rambo choke” because you actually loosen your own Gi lapel, put the end in your mouth, hide it from the guy on the bottom as you hand it off into your off-hand which is underneath and on the other side of the guy.

After securing the grip on your own Gi, you move to North-South and finish the choke like a North-South guillotine choke. It’s actually pretty cool, and pretty clever if one doesn’t telegraph what he’s doing. Clark, a blue belt on our team who has amazing conditioning caught me with this last week and I thought my head was going to explode. I literally “didn’t see it coming”, and it was pretty brutal.

I plan to spend the remainder of April training in this manner and assess how my chokes are coming in early May—I may need to do this for some time.


Larry, the LTrain

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